Donations collected during Ponoka Red Apple’s 2019 toy drive. (Photo submitted)

Donations collected during Ponoka Red Apple’s 2019 toy drive. (Photo submitted)

Ponoka Red Apple’s toy drive has begun

Store is partnering with Ponoka Secondary Campus’ Santa’s Anonymous to distribute donations

Ponoka’s Red Apple store is joining other Red Apple Stores and the Bargain! Shops across Canada in their annual Together We Care toy drive and Fill-a-Sleigh Day.

The national campaign was launched on Nov. 14 at stores cross Canada, each partnering with a local charity to distribute toys and essential items to families in need, donated by Red Apple and The Bargain! Shop customers.

The toy drive finishes on Saturday, Dec. 5 with Fill-a-Sleigh Day.

On that day, stores, including Ponoka’s Red Apple, will be donating 10 per cent of all sales to each stores local charity of choice. Last year, the stores donated 10 per cent of sales from toys only.

“In light of everything that has been happening, our company has made such a wonderful decision,” said Ponoka Red Apple store manager Andrea Novotny-Lund.

The national goal is to raise $650,0000 worth of collected toys.

“This goal wouldn’t be possible without our supportive and generous customers,” said Dave Johnson, vice president of store operations in a press release.

The Ponoka Red Apple’s in-store goal is to raise $5,250, although that may be a bit more of a challenge this year as the staff aren’t able to run their bake sale in conjunction with the toy drive due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Last year, proceeds from the bake sale accounted for 20 per cent of the funds raised. The baked goods were supplied by the time and talents of their staff.

This year, instead of a bake sale, each staff member has made and donated a themed gift basket (men’s bath, women’s spa, movie night, etc.) and the store is hoping to have a few more donated by local businesses.

When customers come in to make a donation, they will be entered into a draw for a chance to win a gift basket.

In lieu of an actual sleigh, a pick-up truck will be used to collect toy donations.

The Ponoka Red Apple is partnering with local charity Santa’s Anonymous to distribute the donations.

“We hope that would be a huge help to Santa’s Anonymous,” said Novotny-Lund, adding that with monetary donations, she hopes the charity will be able to purchase whatever they’re in need of.

The company’s toy drive and Fill-a-Sleigh is special to Novotny-Lund and the Apple Store staff, she says.

They love supporting local and with the drive, people who donate are potentially helping out their own next door neighbours.

“That to us is so important … to help facilitate a slightly better Christmas despite everything happening this year … to create happiness in some families’ households and put smiles on faces — that’s all we need.”

Santa’s Anonymous

Ponoka Secondary Campus’ (PSC) annual Santa’s Anonymous campaign is underway. This year marks the 39th anniversary of the school’s sponsorship of the project.

If you are in need this holiday season or know someone who is, call Santa’s hotline at 403-963-9568 until Dec. 14 between the hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

The delivery date is Dec. 21 between 3:30 and 6 p.m.

Due to COVID-19, the annual Stuff-a-Bus food drive and Santa Showdown hockey fundraiser will not be held this year.

To financially support Santa’s Anonymous, contact Nicole Berg at PSC at 403-783-4411 or by email at nicole.berg@wolfcreek.ab.ca.

Cheques can be made payable to “Wolf Creek Public Schools” and dropped off at PSC in the mail slot at the front entrance. Please mark “Santa’s Anonymous” on the envelope.

For further information or questions, contact Karen David at 403-783-4411, extension 5132.

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